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Petosky Mediation Group Celebrates 25 Years of Service

Saturday, January, 5, 2019

Northern Community Mediation, a Petsokey-based organization that offers mediation services to people in Emmet and Charlevoix counties, is celebrating a quarter century of service this year.  The organization’s goal has always been to help people involved in disputes resolve the problem in a way that satisfies everyone involved.


According to NCM, it has helped in more than 800 cases.


When the organization was launched in the mid-1990s, the focus was limited and worked mainly with small claims issues including disputes among neighbors.  Over the years, NCM grew and now provides support to those going through divorce, guardianship issues, child custody battles, breach of contract situations, employer and employee disputes, and issues related to juveniles breaking the law.


According to Jane Millar, the only thing the organization cannot assist with is criminal cases in which innocence or guilt needs to be determined. 


Millar also explains how the process works.  The mediator facilitates communication between disputing parties, but leaves it up to the parties involved to “come up with a solution. ” She points out this is different from the arbitration process because the third-party (the mediator) is not in charge of levying a decision.  In mediation, those most affected by the outcome are responsible for the resolution and once it is found, the mediator creates a written agreement concerning the details of the arrangement.  Everyone leaves the process satisfied with the result.


NCM currently operates with an annual budget of slightly more than $200,000, a quarter of which comes from the Michigan State Court Administrative Office.  An addition 50 percent comes from the courts operating in Emmet and Charlevoix counties and the remaining fourth from a mix of fundraising, grant writing, and modest fees charged to those seeking services.